Food Inglorious Food

As most parents will know, a lot of time is spent trying to get the right amount and the right kind of food into your children. For me there are probably three main criteria for my kids’ food. It should be filling, healthy (or relatively so) and not overly burdensome to make (preferably can be done in batches). With dinners, I have taken the use it or lose it approach, i.e. eat it because you’re not getting anything else and things have been going rather well on that front. Packed lunches were a different matter and I was really struggling to get combinations that worked for the three boys. I made numerous attempts at different combinations of cheeses, mozzarella, pate, bread, rice, crackers, rice crackers, pasta, grapes, peppers, strawberries, hams, salami, etc. There was always something that just wasn’t quite right, not enough butter, too much pate on one-side, pasta too soggy, rice not at the correct temperature. This is all before taking into account the sudden changes in taste which frequently occurs in the palates of young boys. It can be very frustrating and it led to the implementation of a rule whereby all leftover food from the lunchbox had to be consumed before the boys were allowed do anything fun post school. This initially resulted in much grumbling but then in the period leading up to Easter I noticed that less and less reject food was coming home in the lunchboxes. Eureka, but just when I thought I had it cracked something comes out of left field to show me how wrong I was. In this case it was a blocked toilet!

Now this is not the first time we have had a blocked toilet and usually a bit of vigorous flushing and some good spray work with the garden-hose in the outside drains was enough to get flow levels back to normal, except this time it was different. When the blockage was dislodged we (or rather I should say Niki who was wielding the hose at the time) couldn’t help but notice something rather unusual. Along with the usual “stuff” going through the pipes, there were an awful lot of whole vegetables! Now, either the boys have very mild digestive systems or the luscious cherry tomatoes, olives, etc., which had been acquired at the local organic farmers market were somehow making their way into our sewage by nefarious methods!

A quick bit of AC-12 style interrogation (a couple of questions for non Line of Duty fans) brought about a full confession from Lochlan, our second child. It became clear that rather than eat the vegetables his doting father had lovingly acquired and prepared for him, Lochlan preferred to sneak them into his pockets when he was removing his lunchbox from his schoolbag on returning from school. He would then take a short trip to the downstairs toilet, wrap the aforementioned items in copious amounts of toilet paper and flush away to his heart’s content. And he would have gotten away with it if he hadn’t blocked up our entire sewerage system. This does make me wonder what other ingenious schemes the boys have gotten up to in order to get around my house rules. Maybe random friskings will become a feature going forward!

On a related matter, I rediscovered last week how horrible sour milk actually smells. Oscar had left a milk carton in the normally unused front pocket of his bag before the Easter holidays and it had obviously slipped through my intensive screening system! Now it would have been fine if the milk carton had remained intact, but somehow a significant quantity of liquid had managed to seep out of it. It still amazes me that he was able to scoot into school with the bag on his back and spend the whole day in class without anyone noticing the stench. It was only after Oscar’s bag had spent 10 minutes in the confined space of our car on the way home from school that it became clear to my senses that something was seriously wrong. It is to my eternal shame that Ella was my first suspect when it came to finding the putrid smell but after she was given the all clear we quickly identified the culprit and it has been rehabilitating with some bicarbonate of soda ever since. Safe to say it has not been a good week but hey, the weather is getting better so that’s something!

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